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01/16/13 01/16/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> part of the challenge we confront is even the slightest hint of some sensible responsible legislation in this area fans this notion that somehow here it comes, and that everybody's guns are going to be taken away. >> a month after the massacre at sandy hook elementary school,
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president obama is calling for a ban on assault weapons and high- capacity ammunition magazines. the nra says congress will not approve either. we will spend the hour on guns, believing -- beginning with colin goddard, a survivor of the virginia tech massacre that killed 32. >> we're up against an industry, pe le who profit when others use bullets. we really have to engage the citizens of voice to drown out the industry that profits from shootings like this continually in our country. >> will host a debate about placing armed police officers in schools. critics say this helps school- to-prison. the deep financial ties to the firearm industry. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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president obama is set to propose sweeping new gun restrictions today more than a month after the newtown school massacre. obama reportedly will call for a ban on assault weapons and high- capacity ammunition magazines as well as expanded background checks for gun buyers. in washington, jay carney said obama will hold the campaign- style public even to unveil his proposals. >> the president and vice president will hold an event here is the white house to unveil a package of concrete proposals to reduce gun violence and prevent f pture tragedies like the one in newtown, connecticut. they will be joined by children from around the country who wrote the president letters in the wake of that tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety along with their parents. >> we will be joined by a gun victim who will be at the event later in the broadcast. obama's gun violence initiative comes as your governor andrew
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cuomo has signed into law a new measure expanding the ban on assault weapons in his state, limiting ammunition clips to 7 rounds and imposing a mental health screening for purchases of weapons. we will spend the rest of the hour on u.s. gun violence of the headlines. the house has approved a $50 billion package for victims of superstorm sandy after failing to pass the measure before the previous congressional term ended last month. republicans have come under wide criticism after delaying the vote forcing millions of sandy victims to continue waiting for federal aid. tuesday's legislation was approved over the objections of 80 republicans who demanded any spending on sandy relief be matched by an equal amount in cuts to government spending. french troops are preparing to engage in direct combat with rebels in mali after beginning the first ground offensive of the military intervention. france has launched air strikes in mali for the past six days in a bid to oust rebels that have
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held the country's north since march. french forces began heading north overnight, setting the stage for clashes on the ground. you can go to for our discussion about mali. the u.s. has backed france's operation with surveillance and logistical support. speaking in spain, defense secretary panetta said the u.s. is considering french requests for additional military help. >> we are discussing in washington some of the requests that have been made to determine exactly what assistance we can provide. our goal is to try to do what we can to provide whatever assistance is necessary in order to help them in that effort. specifically, in what areas is still something under discussion. >> the washington post reports france has asked for u.s. intelligence that could be used for targeting purposes. a request that could raise questions under international
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law. the u.s. is also reportedly considering whether to help france transport its troops in military supplies. the obama administration is said to be wary of deepening its involvement in mali after having trained military leaders that ended up staging a coup that -- and even joining the rebels fight. u.s.-backed french strikes in mali have already killed a reported 11 civilians, including three children. on tuesday, an amnesty international spokesperson called for the deployment international human rights monitors and urged and sides to safeguard civilian life. >> amnesty is calling for an immediate deployment of human rights monitors precisely because the risk to civilians is so great. this is not risk just imposed by indiscriminate bombing, but amnesty has documented over the course of fighting in northern mali, sexual violence, rape of women and children, torture, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions. if there is any hope the
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civilians are not going to bear the brunt of the security operations, we have that monitors in place and it has to be done with a very -- much urgency. >> at least 87 people were reportedly killed tuesday when a series of bombings struck the campus of syria's aleppo university. both rebels and government forces have blamed each other for the attack. the town of aleppo has been the site of constant violence with both sides of the syrian conflict in control of different areas. syria's military has apparently launched an offensive against aleppo rebels in the aftermath of tuesday's bombings. the israeli military has forcibly prevented palestinians and solidarity activists from returning to the side of a dismantled encampment that challenged israel's ongoing settlement expansion in the west bank. on tuesday, israeli forces used stun grenades to stop a group of around 50 people seeking to re- pitch tents they had erected.
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it was in the so-called e1 settlement zone. it marked the activists' first attempt to reclaim the site after israeli forces raided them over the weekend read the construction had largely been put on hold following u.s. objections dating back to president george w. bush. but israel resumed work there last month in response to the u.n. vote recognizing palestine as a nonmember observer state. the obama administration has refused to pressure israel for building -- for a building halt, limiting its reaction to calling the e1 expansion "counterproductive." clashes also erupted in the occupied west bank tuesday at the funeral of an unarmed palestinian teen killed by israeli troops. 17-year-old samir awad was shot multiple times as he tried to walk away from israeli soldiers to the israeli separation wall that carves up the west bank. samir's brother said he was
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killed on his way to write a final exam at school. >> he was on his way to school because he had an exam, his last school exam. after half an hour they called and told as my brother was wounded. >> samir awad was reportedly the fourth unarmed palestinian killed by israeli forces in the occupied territories in the last four days, including a farmer shot in the hd in the gaza strip. israeli forces fired teargas and rubber coated bullets at mourners who threw stones following awad's funeral. at the united nations, a spokesperson reaffirmed u.n. secretary general ban ki-moon's view that israeli settlements are illegal and called for an end to their expansion. >> he knows the israeli settlements in the west bank are illegal under international law. secretary general repeated his call that any such settlement plans for e1 must be rescinded. >> interior secretary ken salazar is reportedly stepping down rather than stay on for president of bennis second term.
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he is said to have made plans to leave obama's cabinet by the end of march. democratic governor martin o'malley of maryland is preparing to unveil a measure that would ban the death penalty in his state. o'malley made the announcement in an appearance with leaders of the naacp. >> the death penalty is expensive and it does not work. and for that reason alone, i believe we should stop doing it. [applause] this week, once again, i will be filing legislation to repeal the death penalty in maryland. >> if the ban is approved, maryland would become the 18th state to abolish capital punishment. a u.s. army sergeant who went awol in opposition to the one afghanistan has been detained and held at fort irwin, california. micah turner left his unit in september and later went public with his anti-war views. supporters say he informed the
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military multiple times of his whereabouts since his desertion and even tried to turn himself in, but was only arrested earlier this month while visiting his parents' home. he is expected to transfer to north carolina's fort bragg, where his unit is based. turner has reportedly spent five tours of duty in iraq and afghanistan. late internet freedom activist aaron swartz was laid to rest on tuesday at a funeral near chicago. he killed themself on friday, weeks before he was to go on trial for downloading millions of articles provided by the nonprofit research service jstor. he was facing 35 years in prison, a penalty supporters of shorts called excessively harsh. speaking to mourners, his father robert continued to blame prosecutors for his son's death, saying he was "killed by the government." in response to the family, the husband of the prosecutor carmen
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ortiz has publicly criticized them on twitter, clamming shorts was offered a six-month plea deal. the husband, and ibm executive, has since deleted his twitter profile. in washington, democratic congressmember zoe lofgren of california has introduced a measure in honor of aaron swartz. logfren's bill that aaron's law would modify the computer fraud and abuse act to omit terms of service breaches. in a statement, lofgren said -- more than a thousand school bus drivers and matrons have gone on strike in new york city in a dispute over job security and the outsourcing of their contracts. new york city has put its deals with a private bus companies that -- that hire the drivers up for bidding, a move they say could threaten their jobs at the
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end of the school year. those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. president obama is set to propose sweeping new gun restrictions today in an effort to curb gun violence one month after the newtown school massacre. obama will reportedly call for a ban on assault weapons, a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, and expanded background checks for gun buyers. white house press secretary jay carney spoke on tuesday. >> the president and vice president will hold in event here at the white house to unveil a package of concrete proposals to reduce gun violence and prevent future tragedies like the ones in newtown, connecticut. they will be joined by children from around the country who wrote the president letters in the wake of that tragedy, expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety along with their parents.
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>> obama's proposal is said to include 19 separate steps he could take through executive action. other aspects of the deal would have to go through congress. meanwhile, new york governor andrew cuomo has signed what is being called the nation's toughest gun control law. the law expands the state's ban on assault weapons and limits of ammunition clips to 7 rounds. it also includes mental health screenings for weapons purchases. this is republican state senator tom libous of binghamton. >> there have been a lot of issues discussed over the last 30 days in this bill. we have been fighting for things we believed then and tougher penalties for people who committed a crime with a gun. we were looking for tougher penalties for the mentally ill. >> parents of the sandy hook victims and surviving students have unveiled a new organization called sandy hook promised to tackle gun violence and mental illness in the united states. grieving parents as well as the group's co-founder describes the
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group as an effort to spark a national conversation on how to prevent future tragedies. >> i do not want to be someone sharing my experience and consoling another parent next time. i do not want there to be a next time. the sandy hook, as is the start of our change. >> we need to take action on hard issues freed there is not one to be one simple solution. but we feel it is essential to get a deeper understanding of mental health in terms of research, education, and policy. >> when you look at what has been that in the past, it has not got this very far. we have to do something different. we believe a national discussion, putting aside preconceived notions will have us move forward as a nation. >> for more, we're joined by colin goddard. on april 16, 2007, he was shot four times when a gunman armed
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with a 22 caliber semiautomatic handgun, 9 millimeter semiautomatic, went on a rampage at virginia tech. 32 people were killed. he and 16 others were injured. colin goddard now works with the brady campaign to prevent gun violence. he just returned from meeting with survivors and their parents in newtown. the british campaign was the first trip to meet vice president joe biden's task force on guns, and later colin is headed to the white house to attend president of his announcement on gun-control. he is joining us from washington, d.c.. welcome back to "democracy now!" though the announcement has not been made as of this broadcast, president obama says he is calling for a ban on assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines. your response? >> i think that makes sense. i think the president has taken a comprehensive look at gun
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violence and gun policy in america and realized there are multiple ways to move forward that will make it more difficult for dangerous people to get their hands on increasingly lethal weapons that do damage to american people. we really applaud the leadership from the administration, the comprehensive look they are taking. i think it will go along with to maintaining the public engagement on this issue that will be needed to see these policies become lost in this country. >> in our meetings with vice president biden, what kinds of recommendations did you and your organization, every campaign, make? >> we really highlighted the need for background checks on all guns. i told the vice president personally my experience going to gun shows and purchasing ak- 47's without any check whatsoever. how easy it was for me to go up to a randomly public event, walked up to random stranger, pay money and walked out with a gun. to make these issues real, to
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understand the real-life implications of what they're doing and trying to tackle and realize it is not going to be taking everyone's guns away. it is not destroying the second, like people like the nra try to extrapolate as to. it is a reasonable set of proposals that the vast majority of americans already support. it is encouraging to see leadership from the white house finally on this issue. i think will go a long way to getting everyone in line with this. >> on sunday, the head of the national rifle association predicted efforts to pass a ban on assault weapons and restrictions on the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines was discussed on cnn. candyrowley interviewing the nra president david keene on cnn. >> so no assault weapons ban, no ban on these multi clips. i don't think the white house is going to budge on their push for it, you're not going to budge under pushback.
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let's talk about the politics. do you think you have enough support on capitol hill to keep an assault weapons ban from happening? >> i think right now we do. you have been watching capitol hill for a long time. when a psident takes all the power of his office he is willing to expend political capital, you don't want to make predictions -- you do not want to bet your house on the outcome, but i would say the likelihood is they're not going to be allowed to get an assault weapons ban through. >> how about a clip? >> i don't think ultimately they will get that, either, because i don't think you can make a case that you could really regulate it. these things cost virtually nothing. you and david gregory could find them. but the fact is, we live in a situation where first of all we have constitutional rights and secondly, there are millions upon millions of americans who value the rights they have under the second eminent and are
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involved in shooting sports bar use firearms for self-defense, and we think they will be heard. >> that was the nra president. an abc news/washington post poll shows support for gun control measures is on the rise, finding 54% of americans are in favor stricter gun control laws in general. nearly 60% short -- support a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips. a recent poll showed that the federal assault weapons ban was in place for 10 years, far fewer high-capacity guns were found at crime scenes. after the ban expired, that jumped from 9% to 20%. colin goddard, can you talk about the impact you think the assault weapons ban could have of president obama succeeds in his push to reinstate it? first, if he could talk about the power of the national rice -- national rifle association. there posting in the months since the newtown massacre, there's been more than 100,000 -- they have had more than one
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had a thousand members. >> we have also received an inundation of phone calls from people who have never spoken about this senate wanted to get involved in our work. we just met last night in d.c. with every major progressive group that works on policy and they're all coming together around this issue. we are really encouraged to see how many people are coming to us. i don't know the total number, but i'm sure it is comparable to the 100,000 nra got. if we announce we just got over $5 million for people who want to see new policies become law. we have to think about that. when the nra is speaking, they represent a gun manufacturers and the big gun business. they don't represent the average in a remember that supports things like background checks and limiting the types of weapons and accessories we sell to the general public. the nra's biggest seller is the assault weapon, so they're going to fight everything they can to keep that on the market, to keep
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selling those guns so they can keep getting profits and giving the ceo's their big salaries. when you bring this issue to the average american person and speak in specifics, not in vague terms like gun-control or destroying the second amendment -- i don't even know what that means. when you talk about specifics, the overwhelming majority is support. i encourage the lawmakers and media to talk about the specifics, not in vague generalities. the american support is here. our job is to bridge that gap between the american public and the disconnect of their desire of the elected officials. they need to know the american public supports them so they can step up and lead. we have begun to see that. let's keep this up. with all the lead changed the paradigm to if we can do something about guns, to when. david cay needs to know we already have over to their support in the house of representatives for a ban on
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high-capacity magazines at the end of the one of the 12th congress. we're in of the realm of possibility. if it takes is board -- years from now, we will still be fighting. we understand how the lives we can really save. >> can you talk about the significance of the 19 executive actions the president is also set to announce later today, colin goddard? texas republican steve stockman has threatened impeachment in the event the president uses the executive actions to limit gun- control. he said to attack the president's actions are not just an attack on the constitution and a violation of his sworn the oath of office, they are a direct attack on americans that placed all of us in danger." >> you know, still reviewing all of those 19 steps, but it was positive to see the administration is looking at every option they can, what they
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can do with and without legislation to help reduce the impact and the toll of gun violence in this country. i think the president has been serious about this. a large number proposals go a long way. i think he realizes there are many ways to tackle a problem, not just one thing we can do that is going to save everybody's life. he understands there are many steps we can take. i think it speaks to the seriousness of the president on this issue and is encouraging -- like i said, will help get more people involved when we have it from the leadership of this country. >> and also the possibility of impeachment. explain what the difference strategies are from going to congress to getting an assault weapons ban, for example, an assault weapons ban which, by the way, paul barrett, one of the editors of bloomberg businessweek called the last one, one of the worst written
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pieces of legislation he had ever seen. and the difference between those and executive orders, what obama can do in his own realm. >> every president exercises executive orders. there's no executive order that is going to get rid of the second amendment entirely. people need to understand that. if you do not understand that, you need governmedt 101. we're still reviewing the steps we can take and hold the we hear more specifics later today. -- hopefully, we hear more specifics later today. in the past, it allowed manufacturers to put this in a functionally the the weapons back on the market after a few cosmetic changes. dianne feinstein, the author of that bill, realizes more than anybody, i think, the problem of her bill and is addressing them and will put forth a more comprehensive bill that legitimate that this problem and does not stop people from hunting or getting guns to
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protect themselves or their homes. it takes things like ar-15's off the streets of this country. i think most gun owners realize they don't need them read it has no real place in our community. like i said, these are steps we can take, but none of these will move anywhere unless the american public is in support. we need a movement of people. everyone listening, now is the time the work begins. now is the time to let your elected officials know how you feel about these issues. they need to see support for the second step up and not worry about the big bad gun lobby that is going to come after them in the next election. i think that myth is crumbling on capitol hill. if we keep doing this, if we keep this up, we will see a change in this country that is long overdue. >> colin goddard, before we conclude, i want ask about our meetings in newtown,
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connecticut. you were just there on monday. kenny said a little bit about the sandy hook promise organization, what they're calling for, and what your meeting was about? >> we were invited up to newtown on monday to attend a press conference and meet some of the family members who wanted to speak with others who had been through a similar experience. i went there not to talk about guns, but the human experience of going through such a horrible event. as a group of us being a few months or few years down the road, explaining some of the things that we thought were beneficial, some things that help us get through the next day. it was a tough day, a heavy day. i think it did help the people who came out and spoke to us and share their story and heard our story, and made a connection in new they are not alone. there is a large support from people across the country who want them to know we have their
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back, that they can rely on us. it was good to see the sandy hook promise is comprehensive as well. i think these families know there is no one thing that is going to stop these experiences from happening to other people, so they are taking a serious look at everything they can do with guns and mental health and school policies, which, since. -- which all makes sense. it is inspiring to see families have gone through so much try to work so other families don't have to experience what they did. at the end of the day, that is the reason why i do this work. so what i experienced tucson experienced, what new town is experienced, becomes less likely to happen to another american family. >> as you speak to us, you still have three bullets from the virginia tech massacre in 2007 in you. as she talked about before, the importance of speaking the
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specifics, this is not philosophical, it is not abstract, can you briefly describe for viewers and listeners what happened to you at virginia tech in virginia? >> what happened to me, unfortunately, was the result of a student with a diagnosed history of dangerous mental illness that went untreated. and the combination of that person putting to guns in their hand. what resulted was the worst ofber omass shooting in the nur people were killed. seventeen people in my class that morning, i'm one of seven who are still alive. i still carry three bullets around with me for the rest of my life. i have a titanium rodemeyer left femur that will be with me forever. it reminds me why do this work. what i kept seeing happen to
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other people and nothing being done. people saying, is too soon to talk about it. then people say, it is too fast. as if there is never a way to address this issue, which is, frankly, ridiculous. some americans saw what happened in connecticut. we have to do better than this as a country. as a result, we have seen an overwhelming support from people who have never spoken tr this, but now realize the fact they have been silent on this has contributed to the lack of action. they realize the missing piece in making a safer country is the public engagement and the public involvement. so one month after this horrible shooting, our phones are ringing off the hook. it is encouraging. now to attend a meeting at the white house where we finally talk about gun violence is even more encouraging. let's keep that out. >> karen mccarthy has already introduced an assault weapons ban.
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senator feinstein has not yet done it. in terms of strategy, is there a reason why this was not introduced to gather? does this suggest any kind of disarray or people not agreeing in congress, even in the gun safety community? >> no, i don't think so. so many people want to do something and contribute in some way, and are trying to do whatever they can however they can do it. we have been focused on engaging the american public, making the voice of the american people heard. like i said, that is the best in peace. policy will not go anywhere unless we of the public behind it. now is the time to contact your elected officials. make your voice heard. it is one to take all this coming together, speaking with a unified voice in a focused way that will see the change we so badly need in this country that will help protect our kids, our parents, our cops -- every single person in this country. >> colin goddard, survivor of
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the 2007 virginia tech massacre has been working with the brady campaign to prevent gun violence, just returned from meeting with survivors and their parents in newtown, connecticut. he is headed to the white house where he will be there in the room with president obama for his announcement of a comprehensive plan to address gun violence. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, a debate about cutting armed guards in school. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> one month after the sandy hook elementary school shooting we turn now to a growing debate over what type of security
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measures should be taken in schools to prevent future tragedies. the nra has just launched a new campaign called stand up and fight as part of its push to place armed officers in every school. the nra issued this new ad criticizing president obama on tuesday. >> are the president's kids more important than yours? then why is skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school? mr. obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security. protection for their kids, gun- free zones for hours. >> the nra chief executive wayne lapierre first made the call for armed guards in u.s. schools last month during a press conference. >> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy
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with a gun. i call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation, and to do it now, to make sure that blanket safety is in place when our kids return to school in january. >> gaining momentum britain on monday, the superintendent of a land of public schools proposed their own police force. for more return to a debate between two guests. and boston, sean burke, formerly director of public sector for the lawrence public schools police/safety department where he coordinated all safety efforts, including the creation of the school's crisis plan which now serves as a model throughout the country. his organization does not support the nra call for armed volunteers, but it does support more efforts to place more police officers in schools.
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in new york, damon hewitt is director of the educational practice group of the naacp legal defense and education fund. in 2002, he launched ldf's dismantling the school-to- prison pipeline initiative. before we talk about the issue of guns in schools, i wanted to get your response, damon hewitt, to the nra ad just put out targeting president obama's daughters. >> thank you for having me. i think the ad is a perfect example of how the public debate is so polarized and so driven by a culture of fear instead of solutions. we have to move beyond rhetoric and beyond fear and released her to talk about how we meaningfully keep schools safe? not just school environments, but in our community where we will not have these fears?
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where we will not be afraid of mass shootings and these assault weapons, which are so rampant in this country today. >> sean burke, which like to respond to the ad that says are the president is more important than yours, then why is skeptical about putting on a secured in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards? do you think this is a pro. ? >> good morning. i also do not like anything that is done out of fear. i do not think fear is going to be good for school safety and i don't think it is good for the and states. i don't think it will produce anything that will be positive in the way of changes in school safety. i don't think it is inappropriate at to be running in the u.s., no. >> can you elaborate your responses to the newtown shooting and what you think ought to be done to increase safety in schools, sean burke? >> first of all, we promote
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reasonableness. i don't think there is call to go off on wild tangents or go out of the norm with a lot of ideas that are coming that nowadays. i think we should be going back and putting in the emphasis on things we were doing, some of limited, before the shooting, but take advantage of this public outcry that things have to be done in school. i think, ultimately, the only good thing the nra says is there should be a police officer in every school, and well trained police officer in every school. but we know that is not a reasonable request in today's budgetary area. what we proposed is a program called leap. law-enforcement enhancement procedures or patrol officers, while they're doing their routine duties are officers that are promoting other duties,
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would stop by schools, have satellite offices in schools, get to know the administration, get to know the children that it 10 there, ford relationships. and by that, there will be a deterrent for violence in the school. it will serve as police officers becoming more knowledgeable of the lay out in case there is an emergency, and really promote safer schools by just that regular visiting on your daily patrol. >> damon hewitt, the naacp legal defense and educational fund says it is not the answer to the newtown shooting. can you respond to what sean burke said and what your report recommends? >> we think we have to learn from the past, not so distant past, in particular the the columbine high school and the reactions there. we know with the best of intentions, police officers were placed in many schools to route colorado, throughout the u.s. we know in denver public
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schools, the five years after the columbine shooting, we saw a 71% increase in referrals of students to law-enforcement by schools. the vast majority come over 90% of those referrals, were not for anything remotely dangerous at all. what we started to see was the line between school safety and school discipline have become blurred. innocence throughout the country, school resource officers, some of which are paid for it comes by federal dollars, or functioning as the disciplinary arm of schools. they are enforcing discipline codes and criminalizing students for behavior that most of us would not consider criminal. like using profanity, running in the classroom, talking back to teachers -- behavior that should be disciplined, but should not get a citation, summons, or arrest. >> what do you think of police officers, the idea that sean burke is putting forth, police officers cash sleeping in the
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schools so they can get to know them more easily but in so doing, they are in the schools? >> what we understand is the call for a police officer in every school -- in some communities that may give the appearance of safety, but it is just that. the it will not keep us safer. there was a guard on duty at columbine high school when the tragedy happened. a virginia tech where colin goddard was shot, we know there was an entire police force. this is not going to keep us safe. what keeps us say it is the root cause solutions the administration is working on and also having a say, functioning, healthy school environment where children are not afraid of police officers but actually getting gauge their school leaders and their teachers on matters of instruction or a healthy climate instead of feeling like their school is being treated like a prison. >> sean burke, can you respond to what damon hewitt said an
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address specifically whether you have any concerns about a large number of police officers in school planning a disciplinary rule, not just a security 1? >> the first point is that of course people are going to feel safer with a police officer in your school. i think any citizen that is doing nothing wrong feels much safer with a police officer nearby. you are going to have a decreased fear of crime want you to know that officer and develop a relationship witon him. you will feel comfortable with him. i think the notion or any idea put forward your not one to feel safer with a police offer in school, i don't agree with that at all. secondly to address the issue of the columbine shooting, there was an sro on duty which exchanged fire with the gunman before they enter the school, delaying their entrance into the school. >> sean burke, can you explain a youn sro is?
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>> certified police officer, usually from a sheriff's department or police officer, school resource officer. they work with the school district and they work fulltime in the schools. they're part of the administration team. they are highly trained to deal with issues such as special education, emergency response, even providing educational class is to schools. what you have is a school resource officer, better known as in tesoro, he was working at columbine. he exchanged fire with the gunman on the outside. the failure at columbine was the response after that. the sro did his job, delayed the entrance, exchanged fire. the problem was the police response after that. since then, tactics have changed. instead of waiting for the swat team to gather in go into a school, now we know police officers, even alone, are going
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to risk their lives and go into a school. >> let me get a response from damon hewitt on the point of sean burke has made, that anyone feels safer with a police officer nearby. >> we feel that is false. from a civil-rights perspective, for many years, communities of color have felt under threat. they do not have equal protection, feel like they're under assault. students of color throughout the country feel the same way in their schools. we know we may appear to be in a safe environment in some communities, but others it feels like danger. the racial disparities in the school pipelines bear this out. we know the u.s. department of education only recently began collecting data on school based arrests. although african-american students only comprised about 18% of students nationwide, they 35%-42% who are
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arrested on campus. unless you believe that there on a rampage of crime, which is ridiculous, they have to believe there's some kind of cultural disconnect between what police are doing in schools, what sro's are doing, and cultural disconnect with your other guests statements, which seemed out of step with the reality that young people face throughout the country. >> sean burke, your response that not all feel safe and a police officer is right there? >> i think you can take a reality and change it to fit your political agenda. i believe that sro's to make schools safer. i believe that when you talk about prison the pipeline and you throw all of the stats to scare or imply that police are racist, i think that is a problem. i think that does not take into account, number one, victims' rights. you talk about misdemeanors and
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people being arrested. assault and battery is a misdemeanor. what is a police officer to do if another student or teacher is a salted can go to them as a "i cannot help you because you're in a school and i cannot press charges"? we can instances where there are acts that may not have been correctly decided as far as actions against younger students and bringing them into the court system, but it is hard to monday morning quarterback and incident. >> let me get a comment from damon hewitt. >> you do not need monday morning quarterback when a student is given a criminal citation for cursing on a school campus. when you talk about agendas, let's talk about the agenda of the industry. i worked closely with law enforcement throughout my career. i run a task force in new york regarding police shootings where police shot other officers mistaking them for suspects.
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the complete community knows there is an issue. -- the police community knows there is an issue. it is also unfair to law- enforcement to throw them in the schools and say, "police these school hallways." you cannot bring that kind of mindset into a school because you completely alter and disrupt the entire school environment. all of the research shows from the american psychological association, american bar association, none of the leading experts believe simply placing cops in schools makes them safe. we can talk about training and have an honest conversation about that in the current leadership that your guest once headed desktop someone about training, but we also have to say first things first. do not use this tragedy as an excuse, as a reason to advance on an agenda for something propagated to public schools with more and more police officers.
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let's address the root cause. >> i want to go back to the nra's when lapierre last month on "meet the press." >> crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our school to protect our children? then call me crazy. i will tell you what, i think the american people think is crazy not to do it. it is one thing and keep people safe. the nra is going to try to do that. >> that was when not croupier -- that was one lapierre of the nra. your response? >> as i said before, one of the few statements from the nra that i do suggest, that i do agree with, but the bad thing is we don't have the money in this country to do it. the bad part is also that we have these people now that have opinions on what happens in school, strictly by looking at numbers, never looking at individual instances. when you have these people that criticize law-enforcement in
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schools, my question to them is, have you ever worked in a school? i was an sro commander and was there for 15 years. i have countless stories of how i helped people. i know sro's all around the country that work hard every day and it takes a certain kind of individual. you cannot just have this idea of this macho cop walking in the school halls and arresting people for swearing or horsing around with their friends. that is just not the reality. the reality is, incidents happened in schools. police are called for one reason or another by the school administrator. sometimes action is taken. schools are safer with cops in there, with a well trained police officer they will be safer. it does take a set -- a special kind a police officer. i have personally worked in schools and other response from the administrators and the kids. i have never had a problem getting relationships started
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with kids. i think it carries over to the street. we have a good have aa school resource officer, i think it carries over to police in general where children, students are not afraid to talk to them. >> a quick question, do you also support the assault weapons ban? >> i support meaningful gun changes. i think there has to be some changes in our gun laws. >> an assault weapons ban and high-capacity magazine and that is being proposed today, that the nra opposes? >> i have not seen the full band, but i really don't think anyone needs a 100-round drum or a machine gun to go hunting. so if you're talking about bands on that, i do agree. >> final comment? >> we have to really think about the prospective that communities have throughout this country, especially communities of color. they are being policed and feel
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under assault. when children leave their homes as they walk to school to catch a bus to school, when they're in school and on their way back, it under constante on you assault. having a friendly police in the school and shaking hands, it does not purport with reality. until we have a line between the officers and matters of school safety and discipline, it would be irresponsible to ad hoc let's say let's bring officers into schools en masse. we're doing more harm than good. >> thank you both for being with damon hewitt us damon naacp legal defense and education fund, and sean burke school safety advocacy counsel. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> we conclude today show with a look at the connection between the firearms industry and the national rifle association. throughout its history, the nra has portrayed itself as an advocate for individual gun owner's second and rights. but an investigation finds the group has come to rely on the support of the $12 billion a year gun industry, made up of firearms and ammunition manufacturers and sellers. >> for more we go to washington, d.c., joined by investigative reporter peter stone. his latest piece is for the huffington post called, "nra gun control crusade reflects firearms industry financial ties." peter, welcome. what are those times? >> the ties have become
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extensive in recent years. they gave up principally to 2005 when the gun industry was facing a major crisis that had been hit by dozens of suits from cities in years prior to that. there were facing significant financial costs from this litigation which was aimed at recouping health care and other costs from gun violence in major cities. the gun industry turned to the nra for its lobbying muscle, which is legendary in congress. they needed help and came up with a plan to obtain liability shield for gun manufacturers and distribute it. the only industry in the country that was able to secure such a shield. athena requested very hard for a few years. it passed congress in 2005,
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providing any protection to gun manufacturers. at the same time, that very same year, the nra launched a new fund-raising program aimed at corporate donors, most of whom were firearms companies come in new -- ammunition makers. it has boomed since it started in 2005. there no precise numbers, but the nra posts data about the range of contributions from firearms industry firms. according to reports in 2011 from the violence policy center, between 14,000,039 million nra coffers and that period. that is probably conservative. most of the nra cost and is from other sources. the firearms industry has formed a kind of symbiotic relationship with the nra in recent years.
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>> peter stone, can you say a little bit about who the executives are who serve on the board of the nra? >> the nra has a very large board, about 76 members. many of whom are prominent conservatives, including grover norquist, ollie north, film star chuck norris and many others. they have a small number of industry executives as well who are on the board. at least a few of these are from a fairly large donors. interestingly, to that companies are distributors or makers of these high-capacity magazines, which are now facing significant criticism and legislative threats because of concerns they had been linked to many of the mass shootings in the last couple of years. so it probably gives them a
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little more input and influence at the nra as they fight these bands. >> can you talk about how the nra's positions increased gun sales for the nra's patrons, the weapons manufacturers? >> it is anecdotal, but there is obviously evidence in recent years that's onene of the major pushes of the nra over the past decade has been to pass laws in carry called concealed laws. they exist in almost every state now. the president of one of the big companies in connecticut, in a conference call with analysts back in 2011, said they were looking for a nice uptick in sales in wisconsin after the state passed a concealed carry law. these are ones that the nra has pushed in second amendment
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grounds, self-defense grounds, but they obviously have been good for the firearms industry, too. >> peter stone, could you say what you think the nra's influence will be on the gun control legislation or discussion that is going on now? >> the nra still has huge influence in congress. it tried to defeat president obama in 2012. it spent over $10 million in that effort. it did thought succeed. but it also has cut its contribution significantly in recent years toward the republican party. in the house, it is one of the very tough to get enough republican votes to support some of the legislation which the administration seems likely to push. the assault weapons ban and the limits on high-capacity magazines. i think the latteer may have
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more of a possibility. there have been some statements from recent days from republicans indicating that there is some openness and a handful of republicans to such a ban. it will be very interesting to see if the nra can twist those arms and block the legislation. i think that is more likely at this stage. i think the popular sentiment for gun control is increasing and it is a time of great flocks, more momentum seems to be now then has existed in a long time for increased gun control measures, tougher gun laws. i think this is a volatile situation with the nra is facing new challenges. it may find f it cannot rely on all the members it has relied on in the past. >> peter stone, thank you for being with us, longtime investigative reporter. we will have a link to your
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piece, "nra gun control crusade reflects firearms industry financial ties." democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 ne >> we are asking you to support independent television. if you appreciate the broadcasting just heard, we cannot do this without your support. we are bringing you a special today as we honor independent media. we will turn to the best selling author, and the canadian position. from disease to addiction, parenting to attention deficit disorder, his work focuses on the centrality of early childhood experiences to the development of the brain and how those who experience these experiences can impact everything from behavioral patterns to pca

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